Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Presenting the crew: Jenna Savolainen research assistant

My name is Jenna and i’m studying archaeology in Helsinki University. I’m almost done with my bachelor’s degree and after that I hope to see myself continuing with human rights, forensic science and archaeology, all mixed together.

Research assistant Jenna Savolainen.

My intrests in archaeology are in modern time for sure. I want to work with human rights (investigation of mass graves, massacres etc.) using (and finding) archaeological methods and practices to do research and observe the evidences.

This would be my first long term excavation in Hanko, although I have excavated there for short periods of time (two summers) by now. This going to be exciting summer for sure!

Presenting the crew: Jasmin Jyrä senior research assistant

My name is Jasmin Jyrä and I'm a 4th year Archaeology and History of Art Student from the University of Aberdeen. At the moment I'm working on my dissertation on late 19th century glass in rural context.

Jasmin Jyrä, senior research assistant.

This will be my second Summer in Hanko excavation. Conflict Archaeology chose me and not the other way around, and I'm very excited to see what we will find this year!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Presenting the crew: Toni Tossavainen research assistant

Our research team consists of five people. Toni Tossavainen assisted the dig in 2016. During this years excavation he is working as a resarch assistant. His main job during the excavation is taking care of the finds and guiding the participants during the first week of the excavation.

I asked Toni to write a little about himself for you.

Toni Tossavainen, research assistant.

Hey. My name is Toni and I`m (technically) a 3rd-year archaelogy student at university of Helsinki. My interests in archaeology are wide, maybe most notably kognitive evolution. 

Conflict archaeology (as it pertains to ww2) is as good as any a subject to widen the window I can see out of.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Countdown to the largest WW2 conflict archaeology excavation ever in Finland!

Countdown time! Today it´s only 10 days until the start of the largest WW2 conflict archaeology excavation ever  here in Finland. 

Three weeks and 70+ participants (some 20 + per day) makes up for a very serious dig indeed. The excavation is arranged by Hangö Sommaruniversitet. Additional financial support for the dig  has been granted by Aktia-Stiftelsen i Hangö and Vetenskapsrådet (Sweden).

Prior to the dig I feel it´s time to present the team in charge of the dig, I will start with myself.

Jan Fast, archaeologist

Jan Fast is a Finnish archeologist (MA) and exhibition coordinator. He has studied archeology and history at the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi. 

At the moment Fast is working on his doctoral dissertation about the archeology and history large German, Second World War transition camp situated at Cape Tulliniemi, Hanko S. Finland. 

Jan Fast has conducted some 150 archeological excavations in Finland since his start as a field archeologist in 1986. During his long career as a field archeologist he has worked at several different science institutions. 

While working as an exhibition coordinator at Heureka, The Finnish Science Centre 1989-1997 he organized the famous archeological excavations of the large Neolithic dwelling site in Vantaa Jokiniemi S. Finland. Some five hundred people participated in what still is considered the largest community archeology dig in Finland.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The "Janakkala Swordsman" has now been put on display at Vapriikki!

In 2014 a group of metal detectorists exploring an area in southern Finland stumbled upon the burial plot of a fascinating ancient figure. The extraordinarily well-preserved skeleton was found buried with different swords one fromthe viking age and the other one from the Crusade Period (ca 1100 AD), perhaps to aid him as he journeyed into the afterlife, 

The newly found grave of the Janakkala swordsman in 2014. Photo the National Board of Antiquities.

“There were two swords, one on top of the other, the smaller of which was a Viking-era artifact,” NBA researcher Simo Vanhatalo told YLE. “There is now speculation that it may have been in a fire. In other words, it may have been an heirloom that was in a cremation fire. So that’s a rare combination. It’s one of the longest swords ever found in Finland”.

A couple of days ago the skeletal remains along with the conserved finds from the grave were put on display at the Vapriikki Museum in Tampere, Finland. We are of course still waiting for the scientific publication of the find but this is a good start! Please visit Tampere this summer, Finland and experience the magnificient "Birkkala 1017 AD" exhibition!!

The "Janakkala Swordsman" display at Vapriikki Museum. Photo Vapriikki.

Friday, 2 June 2017

We located the place of the German gun position!

This was the fifth and final day of the pedagogic conflict archaeology dig of Durchgangslager Hangö. Before the start of todays excavation we visited the site of the German gun emplacement in 1944.

My wonderful assistants, archaeology students Anu and Tia at the same spot as the German soldiers in september 1944.

After this we finished the excavations of the large German dump site. Nice finds ´til the end here! The site has been a real treasure trowe providing an intriguing glimpse into the daily life in the transition camp 1942-1944. A big thanks to all the wonderful students From Hangö Högstadium and Hankoniemen Lukio. Thank You archaeology students Jenna, Anu and Tia for all your help and the interesting discussions!!! 

Digging the last layers of the dump.

Last wine bottle from the dump.

 Part of a "Hohner" harmonica.

Aluminium spoon.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

A windy day exploring "Durchgangslager Hangö"

Today was quite a windy day for archaeology on the southernmost tip of Finland. The temperature barely rose over +4 degrees Celsius on the windy side of Cape Tulliniemi!!

"Durchgangslager Hangö" 1.6.2017. Photo Jose Antonio Botella.

Today we started excavating layer three of the northern part of the German WW2 dump that we located in 2015. The results were good despite the fact that we had only a limited amount of time to spend on the digging itself (the documentation work took some time). 

Students from Hankoniemen lukio excavating layer three of the German WW2 dump.

Tomorrow will be a lot easier and probably very rich in finds! Below are a few of the more interesting finds from today.

 Chess piece!

 Well worn tooth brush head.

 Bowl fragment.

 Soap box with pack of German cigarrettes.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New German WW2 dump area discovered at "Durchgangslager Hangö"

The trial excavations are progressing according to schedule. Today 5 students from Hankoniemen Lukio joined our team for the rest of the week. The finds are mounting too which is a good thing for the participating history class students. Many of them will be working with different themes surrounding the soldiers daily life in the camp.

German WW2 beer bottle.

 Damaged brass matchbox cover.

Today the students unearthed a previously unknown German WW2 dump area, apparently quite rich in finds. The following two days will probably be very interesting indeed.

WW2 find layer with a multitude of finds in the one square meter trial pit

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

WW2 conflict archaelogy in Hanko S. Finland 29.5-2.6.2017.

The 2017 field season of the conflict archaeological research in Hanko has just started. We are excavating the westernmost part of the large German "Durchgangslager" situated in Hanko s. Finland between 1942 and 1944. The first leg of the excavations are conducted by history students from two local schools (Hangö Högstadieskola and Hankoniemen lukio). This excacation is financed by Aktia Stiftelsen i Hangö sr.

Students from "Hangö Högstadieskola" excavating layer one of the German WW2 transition camp.

Despite the fact that we are only scraping off the topsoil, interesting WW2 finds are already surfacing. This time both Sovjet (1940-1941) and German (1942-1944).

 German 5 Pfennig coin (1941)

We are currently excavating in two different areas quite close to each other. Area 1 is a continuation of last years ecavation of a large German dump pit.  The excavation in area 2 is a trial excavation prior to large scale excavations of the site in June and July 2017.

 Trial pit in Area 2.

Removal of topsoil on excavation area 1.

The German finds so far have mostly consisted of cigarrette boxes, bottle glass, buckles, combs, mirror fragments, buttons and coins (1941). One large lid of some sort (found today) seems to bear Soviet text but we still need to find out what it says :)

 Russian text (?) but what does it say...

German soldiers combs, shaving mirror fragment and small strap buckle.

Great team (30.5.2017)!!!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Newly found stone-age hearths from Raseborg, Långåmossarna and Espoo, Urheilupuisto S. Finland

For the last couple of days we have been excavating a 6000-year old stone age dwelling site at Långåmossarna in Raseborg (S. Finland).

Drone photo of the area with the three hearths at Raseborg, Långåmossarna. Photo Max Hartwall.

At the same time another team of archaeologists have been excavating another site from the same time period in Espoo, ca 70 km east of Raseborg.

Two of the three stone-age hearths (layer two) from Långåmossarna (Raseborg).

Both sites have yielded many hearths and at least the eleven ones found in Espoo might be associated with the seasonal cooking of seal blubber during the period in question.

Hearth from Espoo, Urheilupuisto (layer one). Photo Mikroliitti Oy.

Bottom layer of a hearth from Espoo, Urheilupuisto. 

Great finds! It´s quite rare to have so many hearths found at the same time, and very interesting indeed to be able to compare them during the actual fieldwork. Sadly the hearths from Espoo only produced very limited amounts of dateable finds. We will have to wait until we get the results from the C-14 analysis until we know the excact chronology of the two sites.

Pottery (4000 BC) from Raseborg, Långåmossarna.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Excavating the corded ware culture dwelling site @ Långåmossarna

We have been waiting a year for this. Today it was finally time to start the excavation of the corded ware culture dwelling site area at Långåmossarna. Not so many finds yet but we are only scratching the surface at this point. I hope that tomorrow we will be able to share more pictures about the finds and especially the features (the hearths)!

Excavating layer one.

Corded ware culture hearth (in the foreground), layer two.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Here comes the summer!

Day two excavating the early Comb Ceramic dwelling site at Långåmossarna  with beautiful students from Ekenäs Gymnasium and Ms. Karin Tatsugawa from Hiroshima, Japan.

Ms. Tatsugawa shows off one of the many 6000-year old potsherds she found today.

The day started out warm and foggy but as soon as we started excavating the sun broke through the fog and we could excavate in wonderful summer weather (+22 degrees Celsius). As expected the finds started mounting up when we reached layer two.

The excavation area, approximately  in the middle of the picture at the edge of the gravel pit.

The students started by clearing of the remains of layer one, after which me and Tia documented the first excavation level with the help of history teacher Vilhelm Lindroos. The students who helped out with the cleaning of the excavation level were rewarded with Ice Cream :)

Excavation area level one. The smaller fire cracked stones are all from hearths destroyed by 
stone-age wave- and Ice erosion.

In 2017 we´re going after the eally small fragments of burnt bone (mostly fish). We have opened up a couple of smaller excavation areas for more closer inspection.

Archaeology student Tia (University of Helsinki) excavating the area of a refuse pit filled with small fragments of burnt bone.

Todays finds were mostly comprised of larger ornate potsherds, quartz and porphyry flakes and burnt bone.

Early comb ceramic pottery (4500-4300 BC)

Spring met summer today :)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The 2017 excavation season just started!

What a great week!

Last weekend we continued the Poetic Archaeology surveying of "Durchgangslager Hangö" with a permit from the landowner (Metsähallitus). With the official permit in hand it was now possible for us to take a closer look at the areas of the German transition camp that today are situated within the protected nature reserve area of Cape Tulliniemi.

Surveying "Durchgangslager Hangö" 13.5.2017. Photo Lasse Nyman

Although we were only scratching the surface we found acouple of very interesting find areas which we will excavate during the 2017 season. Below area a few finds from the first visit to Cape Tulliniemi later this year!

 Catholic WW2 prayer ring

German named "luggage" tag to Uffz. Franz Stäger.

German WW2 brass matchbox cover.

Today it was time to kickstart the excavations of the 6500 year old stone-age site at Långåmossarna in Raseborg (S. Finland). Over 20 students from the local schools showed up aand made a tremendous effort in clearing the top layers of the southernmost research area. Lots of finds too but more about those tomorrow. A big thanks to Karis-Billnäs Gymnasium and Ekenäs Gymansium for a superb day!

 The stone-age dwelling site @ Långåmossarna.

 The team 18.5.2017.

 Removing the topsoil.

 Topsoil successfully removed, time to excavate find layer 1.

"Side by side".